It is strange indeed that the Australian
media has not reported the strong support
for the constitutional monarchy in two
polls commissioned this year by leading
Canadian media organisations. After all,
republicanism seems to be considered particularly
newsworthy here. When a Canadian minister,
during The Queen's Golden Jubilee visit,
mused about Canada becoming a republic,
that actually made headlines in Australia!
One poll commissioned by the Globe
and Mail and CTV recorded a 79 per
cent support for the Canadian constitutional
monarchy! They "somewhat" or
"strongly" agreed with the statement
"I support the constitutional monarchy
as Canada's current form of government
where we elect governments whose leader
becomes Prime Minister". This is
a far more accurate question than that
asked in any Australian opinion poll on
this issue. What is particularly interesting
is the result in French Canada.
The Regional breakdown was:
|Saskatchewan and Manitoba
The breakdown according to age answers
those who say (as Mr Cassin wrote recently
Age and former Senator Susan Ryan
prophesises) that as constitutional monarchists
are dying off, republicans need only sit
back to get their republic. This is of
course subject to their ever agreeing
on what sort of republic they want. Even
the ARM now admits it doesn't have the
answer but it still wants a republic!
The breakdown was:-
|Middle Aged Canadians
Apart from registering massive support
for the constitutional monarchy among
the youth, the poll found that both younger
(66 per cent) and older Canadians (64
per cent) were more likely to feel that
the constitutional monarchy helps to define
Canada's identity than the middle-aged
(57 per cent) did. There is a parallel
in Australia. Research at the time of
the referendum indicated the middle aged
were more inclined to vote "Yes"
than either younger or older Australians.
So these results offer little comfort
to Mr Cassin or Senator Ryan - they will
be waiting forever.
So we are back where we were at the beginning
of this debate. The republicans demand
a republic but have no idea what sort
of republic. And we Australians have had
the advantage of something superior to
an opinion poll - a Swiss-style referendum.
Fortunately our Australian Founding Fathers
insisted on this. Why? Because in a referendum,
unlike a plebiscite, the people are told
in advance and in detail what they are
really voting for. This is why so many
republicans now want a plebiscite.
Notwithstanding a massively funded and
supported 'Yes' campaign by the elite
establishment in the referendum in 1999,
all states voted 'No' as did 72 per cent
of electorates. On this result, we were
told that many or most of the No voters
were really republicans. Since most of
those who say this predicted and campaigned
for a 'Yes' vote, how would they know?
The point is that when Australians considered
the republicans' official preferred model,
which the taxpayers paid generously for
them to develop, the people indicated
an overwhelming preference for what they
had and consequently still have.
But back to opinion polls, which, like
plebiscites, can be so easily manipulated.
Until November it had been a long time
since any opinion poll on this issue had
been published in Australia. Note that
I say "published" - we do not
know if polls were taken but not actually
published. As some media organisations
are campaigning for a republic they do
have a certain conflict of interest on
A poll was in fact published in The
Australian on 15 November 2002, in
time for a conference at Griffith University
in Brisbane, held in conjunction with
that newspaper and the Australian Republican
Movement. (It also coincided with the
British media's concocted Burrell affair
designed to exact revenge on the monarchy
because of the success of the Golden Jubilee
they had predicted would fail.) The conference
was free to the public, but only those
supporting some form of republic were
invited to speak. So why it was not openly
called what it was - a conference to promote
republicanism - rather than the misleading
Constitutional Futures: The Nature of
our Future Nation" is not clear.
What is clear is that after Corowa, official
republicans are not at all interested
in hearing from anybody who questions
the need for such change.
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